Today I had my first exercise class at Preggi Bellies, which as the name already suggests, is a fitness exercise program that caters specifically to pregnant (and post-pregnant) women. I’ve never been one to enjoy the gym or even aerobics classes, preferring instead to exercise outside such as running in the park or by the beach, playing tennis, or doing laps in the swimming pool.
However, as I may have written in a previous post, after being preggers, I’ve been very limited in the types of activities I can do and did not want my fitness level to deteriorate or to put on any unnecessary additional weight. Not to mention that it’s FREEZING here in Melbourne at the moment, so even finding the right day to go power walking without returning with a frozen nose and icy cold hands has been challenging.
Anyway, I went for the workout slightly nervous (will I be able to follow the workouts?) but also quite excited to finally get to do a full body workout instead of just working out my legs…and the class turned out surprisingly more enjoyable than I had anticipated. I felt my heart pumping (not too much because pregnant women definitely don’t want their hearts racing more than 140rpm!), muscles stretching, and the oxygen and blood circulation improving tremendously. I even perspired, which felt great. Today’s exercise class mostly involved using the core ball to help support the bellied body and it was fun bouncing up n down and uhm…trying to get the ball to stay in place!! (Apparently you get better with balancing and keeping it in place as you go along…) There were also some weights and stretching involved to get the upper body going.
One of the interesting tidbits the instructor dropped on us today was that the baby is sleeping when we’re exercising, hence why the lack of movement in the belly but about an hour after, because of the increased oxygen and blood circulation in the body, the baby will be up and active! AND SHE WAS RIGHT…sunnyboy was really still during the workout but oh boy was he kicking, flipping, somersaulting…and doing whatever other moves he does in there about an hour after the workout. I think he woke up really happy because his mom sure was!
I know a few women who are apprehensive about exercise during pregnancy, but lots of research by Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and even testimonials from women who do exercise, point to the benefits of working out with the belly: “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women with low-risk pregnancies participate in moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes or more each day on most, if not all, days of the week.These recommendations are based on research indicating that exercise during pregnancy may be associated with reduced rates of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, cesarean sections, low back pain, anxiety, nausea, heartburn, insomnia, leg cramps, and possibly excessive weight gain.” (From an article by Lewis, B., et al. (2008) at the University of Minnesota). This article also further talked about how so many women do NOT exercise during pregnancy and how that could lead to adverse effects during and post-pregnancy.
SO I say…if you live in Australia, Preggi Bellies has classes at different fitness centers around Melbourne, as well as Brissy and Sydney. I HIGHLY recommend it! Apparently some Australian celebrities (that I don’t know of…but it’s more because I’m just not into the Aussie celebrity scene) also rave about this program. The program requires you to attend at least 2 classes per week for over 12 weeks. If you live somewhere else I’m sure there are health and fitness classes around you that provide pregnancy exercise or yoga/pilates classes that you can try…do give it a go! Of course, talk to your doc first about the workout because there are rare cases where women cannot exercise when carrying the bub.
As for me, I can’t wait for my next session!